Getting divorced is never easy, and navigating your health insurance post-divorce does not have to be incredibly complicated. Let’s go over some of the basics of open enrollment after a divorce so you can have peace of mind when it comes to your medical expenses.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and You
Under the ACA and COBRA, employers must offer coverage for divorcing spouses for up to 36 months after the divorce is finalized. But the cost to you might be more than your old insurance premiums were, as you will be paying all of the premium. That means that if you were previously covered under your spouse’s health plan before the divorce, you will still be able to use that plan until the 36 month period has expired. It’s important to note that not all plans offer this extra coverage, so check with your employer or plan administrator to make sure. Also, make sure you know the cost.
Alternatively, the Affordable Care Act has special periods of enrollment for divorced persons. You do not have to wait until the next open enrollment to get insurance. You have a certain amount of time after you lose your coverage for a qualifying reason, like a divorce, to get new ACA coverage.
Finally, your health insurance at work probably has similar special open enrollment periods. You need to call your HR administrator to see how much it will cost.
Premiums and Deductibles
When it comes time for open enrollment, it’s important to remember that premiums and deductibles may be different than what you were used to while married. When shopping around for a new policy or plan during open enrollment, take into account both premiums and deductibles so you know exactly how much you will be paying out of pocket each month and what kind of coverage you are getting in return. It is also important to keep in mind that some policies may not cover pre-existing conditions or treatments related those conditions.
When you do look at policies, you should consider if you get a tax credit or a reduced premium based on your income as a single person. This can substantially reduce the cost of your insurance.
Navigating health insurance after a divorce can be confusing but thankfully there are resources available online to help guide you through the process. One great resource is HealthCare.gov which offers information about policies available to you as well as helpful tips on choosing one that best fits your needs and budget. Additionally, speaking with an insurance broker or financial advisor may help provide additional clarity about policies available where you live as well as advice on how much coverage makes sense based on your current financial situation.
Open enrollment can be daunting no matter what stage of life you are in, but especially if you recently got divorced. But by understanding some of the basics such as premiums and deductibles, researching options on HealthCare.gov and consulting an expert at least once during this process, taking care of your medical expenses should become a lot less intimidating during open enrollment season!
If you are ready to start down the path of your uncontested divorce, feel free to reach out to my office. I have helped scores of people in the past three years navigate through this life transition in a peaceful manner, focusing on their new future. Call me or contact me through my website if you are ready to start down the path.